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I have dabbled in both pottery and ceramics and have gathered a few solutions to some of the problems I have run across through the years.
Some of these hints can't be found in books, because I was just flyin by the seat of my pants and trying different things and ways to solve what ever problem was bugging me.

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If you are you having trouble with clay sticking to your molds, rolling pins or canvas, try this:
Use pantyhose to cover your molds and rolling pins.
Sprinkle the surfaces of your mold with cornstarch, it will burn off in the kiln.


You can cover items with cloth, Saran Wrap or newspaper if:
You're using the slab roller a lot and the canvas gets wet which causes the clay to stick.
Use separate pieces of cloth like old sheets, which are great and you can get them at garage sales for 25 cents or thick plastic instead of placing the clay right on the canvas.


To keep tiles and slabs of clay flat as they dry, sandwich them between pieces of drywall.
You can stack quite a few layers this way.


Support your slabs while hand building, by cutting templates out of tar paper or cardboard.
They will support the slabs so that you can put them together while they are still soft.
Keep it attached to the slabs until the clay hardens, you can then peel it off.


Make slabs ahead of time and keep them wet for a long time in styrofoam coolers.
If they start to dry out, just throw a wet towel over them and put the lid back on.


Before you start carving into leather hard clay, cover the surface with Saran Wrap
Draw your pattern on it with a marker, then when you carve there will be no burrs.


Dip your knife in vegetable oil when cutting clay pieces and it will glide right through the clay.
WD40 works good also, but has a chemical smell.
Both will burn off in the kiln.


For different textures on your tiles or slabs, you can press food objects such as coffee grounds, wheat bran, rice or any organic material, because they will burn up in the kiln, leaving the imprint.
Just make sure you don't get pieces of rice entrapped in clay or they could cause an explosion when firing.


Finally, and I think that this one is the best of all, use vinegar to attach clay, it works like magic.
Also, if you are trying to attach pieces to work that has gone past leather hard, wrap the whole piece in wet newspaper and then plastic and leave set for a couple days.
The moisture will even out and then you can easily attach the pieces.

If you want to leave your footprints in the sands of time, wear work boots.

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Have you ever come up with a good idea while working with your handmade pottery and thought that you would like to share it with others? You have? Well, why not send it to us and we will add it to the tips page for all to see.

Handmade pottery can be a very gratifying hobby that produces fun and satisfying results. For many people it's an enjoyable release that is created by working an inanimate mound of clay into a beautiful work of art that you made through your artistic abilities.

The best way of starting out is to take a few lessons from Youtube. You will probably waste quite a bit in materials when you first get started. Figuring out how to truly make handmade pottery correctly and shape into what you want it to be can be quite an ordeal. The different tools that a normal shop will have can be fun to try. You will soon see which ones you like to use the most and then when you are ready you will know which ones to buy.

With the help of the internet, you can now purchase most if not all of your ceramic and pottery tools and supplies online. We are located far from any well supplied dealers and yet working with reliable ceramic and pottery suppliers online has allowed us to recieve most of our orders within a timely manner.

When you get all set up, just enjoy the hobby and have fun at it. Some people get pretty serious and start selling their creations at craft fairs and small stores, but others just like to create items for themselves, relatives, and friends. Whichever kind of handmade pottery you desire to endeavor, enjoy the hobby and have fun doing it.

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